TQ 1502 WORTHING MARINE PARADE (north side)
753/5/272 The Dome Cinema
Cinema and bingo hall, originally a multi-purpose kursaal. 1911, by Theophilus Arthur Allen for Carl Adolf Seebold, at a cost of ?4,000. Remodelled 1921 by R Kirksby Bowes at cost of ?8,000. Brick, stuccoed at front, otherwise pebble-dashed; dome supported by steel posts. Plain tile roof to front range; otherwise Welsh slate, rear ranges with crested ridge tiles (part removed). Two-storey, five-bay front range, the ground floor projecting and having shops flanking entrance arcade. Above and behind this is the original cinema of 1911, later a ballroom and restaurant and now (in 1996) a bingo hall; in dome over front is former billiard room. To rear is the thirteen-bay deep Coronation Hall, originally used principally as a roller skating rink, concert hall and ballroom; in continuous use as cinema since 1921.
Entrance elevation restored in 1995. Mid-C19 shop fronts flank bowed entrance to arcade, the bow supported by columns and formerly with gates; later entrance to first floor to left of bow; parapet. First floor has round-arched windows with glazing bars set between pilasters and linked by impost string. Tower has angle pilasters, platt band, round-arched six-pane windows, octagonal dome and cupola. Right return: two-storey section has round-arched windows on ground floor with radial glazing bars to fanlights and small-pane casements; three-light small-pane casement windows to first floor. Similar windows to one-storey section; some louvred; two ridge louvres. Left return: similar but without the round-arched windows.
The interior survives remarkably complete and is full of interest. Entrance arcade has patterned terrazzo floor, incorporating builder's name plate; glazed green tile dado; former shop doors and windows (blocked); glazed double door on left side with small panes originally giving access to first floor; and compartmental ceiling with decorative plasterwork. At rear lies the main entrance, which has arched doorway and side lights, the glazed doors with central roundels and glazing bars, all dating from 1921.
Entrance foyer originally an open-air theatre with small balcony and a stage set under semi-dome; the present interior is a complete and lavish remodelling of 1921. Similar doors to those at entrance serve auditorium, and are set in the pine partitioning which separate the former refreshment room (on left) and cloakroom (on right); these have small pane glazing with coloured glass lettering over doors. Main foyer area dominated by large polygonal paybox of 1921, itself a rare feature, with separate smaller kiosk in side passage serving cheap seats in front stalls. All areas with patterned cornices and ceilings. Enriched window architraves, light roundels, brass bannistered stairs up to doorways leading into main auditorium set between etched side mirrors with cameos, swags and sconces.
The main auditorium or Coronation Hall retains original balcony to sides with decorative metal balustrade. Original stage with some decoration survives behind later proscenium; this itself obscured behind wide screen installed in 1955 by Goldsmith and Pennells, architects. Viewing boxes at rear now projector and rewind rooms, richly decorated and with cupids and hearts. Decorative ceiling of 1921 and comparable with that in entrance hall; it includes raised semi-domes masking original ventilation system. Shallow raked floor and fixed seating installed in 1921, some seats still the originals and in their original position.
The first floor bingo hall opened as a cinema in October 1911 and in 1921 became a ballroom. It has a decorative ceiling, partly concealed, and light bosses. The former restaurant overlooking the sea has a more decorative compartmented ceiling and columns.
The Dome is of dual interest as a rare surviving kursaal or multi-purpose hall, with the original plan of a roller skating rink in the main hall. Save for the balcony front, the decoration all dates from the conversion of this hall to a cinema in 1921, and this is both remarkably elaborate and exceptionally complete. The Dome is one of the best five early cinemas to survive in England, and the grading reflects both its architectural and historical interest.
Original plans from the cinema and local authority
The Worthing Gazette, 19 April 1911 and 26 July 1921
Listing NGR: TQ1506002486